H-2 SS-29 was an H-class submarine originally named Nautilus. She was laid down by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco, California and was renamed H-2 on November 17, 1911. She was first commissioned on December 1, 1913 with Lieutenant, junior grade Howard H. J. Benson in command.
H-2 began her service attached to the Pacific Flee, operating up and down the West Coast, usually accompanied by H-1. Through October 1917, most of her patrols included exercises out of San Pedro, California. After this time H-2 sailed for the East Coast and transferred to the Atlantic Fleet, joining with them as of November 9, 1917. For most of that winter she cruised the Caribbean Sea, conducting special sub detection tests alongside aircraft and patrol vessels from Key West, Florida. Except for a short stay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to have new engines installed, H-2 spent the remainder of the war running patrols in the Caribbean.
After World War I
After the war H-2 returned to the sub base in New London, Connecticut, from there she operated out of Long Island Sound, aiding in the training of student officers. H-2 was in the water with H-1 when she went aground off Santa Margarita Island in February of 1920. H-2 was instrumental in providing search and rescue parties for survivors, helping to save all but four men of her sister’s ship crew. In the winter of 1921, H-2 underwent an extensive overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard; after which she returned to a schedule of drills and exercises with the Pacific Fleet and Submarine Division 7. H-2 was decommissioned at Hampton Roads on October 23, 1922. Her name was struck from the naval Vessel Register on December 18, 1930 after which she was sold for scrap.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially throughout conflicts of the last century, submarines also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. However, these risks extend beyond the inherent dangers that existed while operating the vessels during military conflicts. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were also common aboard submarines because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Furthermore, the enclosed environment of submarines put servicemen at an even higher risk of exposure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with or served on submarines should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.